I’m clearly someone who loves to be disappointed.
Why do I think this, you might wonder? Well, it’s because I adore buffets, despite the fact that they are usually pretty crap.
From sad pork pies at a wedding disco, to greasy scrapings of Peking duck skin at the all-you-can-eat Chinese, to dried pebbles of scrambled egg at the breakfast buffet, the intention is often superior to the food.
There are exceptions, however. I devoted hours to discovering the best Vegas buffets before we went there in 2007. We ended up going to Le Village at Paris and The Spice Market at Planet Hollywood, both of which were great.
On two previous visits to Thailand, I’d been wowed by the good value (compared to UK prices) and brilliantly-executed buffets available in Bangkok hotels.
The top photo is one of about 6 plates of food that H managed to cram down at Plaza AthÃ©nÃ©e. Highlights for me included smoked salmon and sashimi, scallop salad, tamarind duck, salmon with saffron sauce and rose mousse. The main stations were cold appetisers (meats, fish), sushi and sashimi, salads, freshly-mixed pasta, carvery, hot Western dishes, hot Thai dishes and desserts.
The drinks were eye-poppingly expensive, with even the plainest of waters costing more than I had encountered anywhere else, but I guess they have to make a big profit on something.
The more expensive Mantra buffet was a week or so later, and the above pic shows some of the wonderful seafood they had on offer.
H Snr gorged on imported oysters, O tried a variety of cheeses, H devoured endless crab legs and I, well I treated myself to a Yorkshire pudding. Other highlights were some lovely antipasti and a system where you could order a range of hot dishes (Western, Chinese, Indian, pizza) to be cooked for you, which meant they hadn’t suffered from sitting around. There was also a carvery, sushi and sashimi, salads, desserts (including 3 chocolate fountains) and a pancake station.
We managed to spin our Mantra trip out to about 3 hours, with many pauses for digestion and to allow H and H Snr to make the most of their wine buffet, which equated to unlimited servings from a selection of wines for a little over Â£20.
If you compare the food and drink prices to what you would pay in the UK, it soon becomes clear that it is a worthwhile indulgence. I very much enjoyed both the buffets I went to, but there are many more available, so I urge you to pick one that appeals and give it a go.
And if you feel like you’re cheating on Thai food a bit, remember, it’s only one meal!